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2. Comments Related to Bush's Article3a6

There are many significant items in the article, but the main ones upon which we shall comment here will be those relative to the use and implications of his Memex. The associative trails whose establishment and use within the files he describes at some length provide a beautiful example of a new capsbility in symbol structuring that derives from new artifact-process capability, and that provides new ways to develop and portray concept structures. Any file is a symbol structure whose purpose is to represent a variety of concepts and concept structures in a way that makes them maximally available and useful to the needs of the human's mental-structure development -- within the limits imposed by the capability of the artifacts and human for jointly executing processes of symbol-structure manipulation. The Memex allows a human user to do more conveniently (less energy, more quickly) what he could have done with relatively ordinary photographic equipment and filing systems, but he would have had to spend so much time in the lower-level processes of manipulation that his mental time constants of memory and patience would have rendered the system unusable in the detailed and intimate sense which Bush illustrates.3a6a

The Memex adds a factor of speed and convenience to ordinary filing-system (symbol-structuring) processes that would encourage new methods of work by the user, and it also adds speed and convenience for processes not generally used before. Making it easy to establish and follow the associative trails makes practical a new symbol-structuring process whose use can make a significant difference in the concept structuring and bssic methods of work. It is also probable that clever usage of associative-trail manipulation can augment the human's process structuring and executing capacilities so that he could successfully make use of even more powerful symbol-structure manlpulation processes utilizing the Memex capabilities. An example of this general sort of thing was given by Bush where he points out that the file index can be called to view at the push of a button, which implicitly provides greater capability to work within more sophisticated and complex indexing systems3a6b

Note, too, the implications extending from Bush's mention of one user duplicating a trail (a portion of his structure) and giving it to a friend who can put it into his Memex and integrate it into his own trail (structure). Also note the "wholly new forms of encyclopedia", the profession of "trail blazers," and the inheritance from a master including "the entire scaffolding" by which such additions to the world's record were erected. These illustrate the types of changes in the ways in which people can cooperate intellectually that can emerge from the augmentation of the individuals. This type of change represents a very significant part of the potential value in pursuing research directly on the means for making individuals intellectually more effective.
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